Partnership Agreement with SOAS

The Shīʿah Institute is proud to announce its partnership with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in providing financial support for a new module in the department of the Study of Religions entitled ‘Shi‘a Islam: Religious Authority and Community Identity’. This module, available from the commencement of the 2015–2016 academic year, will introduce undergraduate students to the origins, developments, and historical manifestations of Shīʿah Islam, as well as exploring the contemporary outlook of Shīʿah Muslim communities across the world.

Dr Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi, Dean of the Shīʿah Institute attended a ceremony on Monday 29 June 2015 to sign the partnership agreement between SOAS and the Shīʿah Institute.

Head of the Department of the Study of Religions, Dr Erica Hunter said: ‘I am thrilled that this new course on Shīʿah Islam will be offered within the Department. The course will enable students to broaden their appreciation and understanding of Islam and explore the considerable important and rich contributions that Shīʿism has made over the centuries to this world religion.’

Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi, Dean of the Shīʿah Institute, said: ‘We are delighted and honoured to be in partnership with SOAS in offering this module. The Shīʿah Institute believes that there is no greater nurturer of knowledge and empathy in people than a good higher education in the humanities. If our ignorance is our only enemy, then teaching and learning have a unique role in dispelling that ignorance and nurturing a more harmonious world.’

For more information on our partnership, visit the SOAS website.

Dr Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi signing the partnership agreement

Announcement – The Mystery of Prayer

The Shīʿah Institute, in partnership with Brill, is delighted to announce the first volume in the Modern Shīʿah Library series, The Mystery of Prayer.

The Shīʿah Institute Annual Symposium 2015 – Philosophy and the Intellectual Life in Shīʿah Islam

The Shīʿah Institute will be convening its first annual symposium at the Warburg Institute, University of London from Wednesday the 2nd to Friday the 4th of September 2015.

The theme for the first symposium will be Philosophy in/and Shīʿah Islam and will comprise a series of papers that will provide theoretical reflections on the relationship between philosophy, modes of philosophical reasoning, living, and Shīʿah Ithnā ʿAsharī traditions, as well as studies of particular thinkers, texts, and schools of thought throughout Shīʿah history. We plan to publish the papers presented at each symposium in an annual volume organised around that year’s theme.

The full programme for the Symposium will be available shortly, but in the interim we are pleased to announce that the following of our fellows and scholars in the field will be amongst those presenting at the symposium:

Hussein Abdulsater (American University of Beirut)
Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad (American University of Cairo)
Elizabeth R Alexandrin (University of Manitoba)
Emann Allebban (McGill University, Montreal)
Ahab Bdaiwi (University of St Andrews)
Alessandro Cancian (Institute of Ismaili Studies)
Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)
Hossein Kamaly (Barnard College, Columbia, New York)
Jari Kaukua (University of Jyväskylä)
Hasan Ali Khan (Habib University, Karachi)
Mohammed Redha Lawati (al-Ray, Muscat, Oman)
Wilferd Madelung (Oxford University)
Matthew Melvin-Koushki (University of South Carolina)
Nauman Naqvi (Habib University, Karachi)
Reza Pourjavady (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt)
Pooya Razavian (Oxford University)
Mohammed Rustom (Carleton University, Ottawa)
Mathieu Terrier (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris)
Cyrus Ali Zargar (Augustana College, Illinois)

If you are interested in attending—and participation is by invitation only—please contact Benjamin Wakefield (


Book launch – Jawn Martyr of Karbala Lamented

On the 14th of November 2014, the Shīʿah Institute had the honour of commemorating the Lords of Karbala and contributing 1,104 verses of poetry to the Urdu literary canon with the launch of Marsiyah dar hal Janab Jawn ibn Hawiyy mawla Abi Dharr al-Ghifari; or, Jawn Martyr of Karbala Lamented by His Highness Raja Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan (1914-1973). This work marks the Shīʿah Institute’s first publication, and the first volume in The Shīʿah Heritage of South Asia series.

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Obituary – I. K. A. Howard

IKAHoward-250x300I. K. A. Howard, who died in March 2013, was a distinguished scholar of Islamic studies, and one of the few Western scholars to devote themselves the study of Shi’ah Islam. He translated a number of important Shīʿah texts and wrote a series of articles on Shīʿah Islam at a time when there was little other work being undertaken on this important subject in Western universities, as such he can be seen as a pioneer in the field. For many years he held a senior lectureship at the University of Edinburgh where he taught Arabic and Islamic studies. His exactitude and scholarly rigour were unfailing, as his students had cause to note, but this was tempered by an encouraging and generous approach to their endeavours.  He came to Islamic studies through a circuitous route, but none the worse for doing so, beginning with a degree in Greek from the University of Wales in 1961. . . .